Vaccinations for coronavirus have now topped 2.3 million, with the Health Secretary promising every adult will be offered the vaccine by the autumn. Currently, the over 80s and healthcare workers are being vaccinated, with the Oxford and Pfizer vaccines currently both being put to use. Seven new vaccine centres in Bristol, Surrey, London, Newcastle, Manchester, Stevenage and Birmingham opened today will have the capacity to vaccinate four people a minute.
Matt Hancock said: “It’s taken a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication to make such an incredible start to this ambitious deployment programme.
“Our vaccine deployment plan sets out exactly how we will harness these efforts to expand the programme quickly and safely.
“Our UK Covid-19 vaccines delivery plan maps our route back to normality, but it does not mean we can be complacent and it is mission-critical that everybody abides by the restrictions in the coming weeks.
“The next few months will present a significant opportunity to turn the tide of battle against Covid – I am looking forward to watching these plans bring more reassurance and hope back to people’s lives after a difficult year.”
NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens said almost 375,000 people in England have now received a second vaccine dose despite the decision to prioritise giving as many people as possible the first jab, lengthening the waiting period from three to 12 weeks.
He told MPs: “There were some second jabs, where that was a clinical decision to do so given that last week was just a few days after the changed advice from the JCVI and chief medical officers.”
This comes as the Prime Minister did not rule out even tougher lockdown restrictions.
While making a visit to a new vaccine centre in Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol, the Prime Minister said: “We’re going to keep the rules under constant review.
The document reads: “We have always known that vaccines would be our best way out of this pandemic and towards a more normal way of life. It is why we moved fast and early: supporting groundbreaking research from January last year, and pre-ordering millions of vaccines on behalf of the whole of the UK.
“As a result of this work, we are the first country in the world to authorise a vaccine against COVID-19. Today we have three authorised vaccines for COVID-19; more than any other country in the world.
“Our priority is to save as many lives as possible, as quickly as possible, while also reducing the hospitalisations that are creating such pressure on the NHS.
“Across the UK, we have already vaccinated over two million people, and are on track to deliver on our commitment to offer a first vaccine to everyone in the most vulnerable groups by the middle of February.
“These groups have so far accounted for 88 per cent of COVID-19 fatalities.
“Then, we will expand the programme so all adults can be vaccinated by the autumn. “